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Using Harman Kardon SoundSticks Wireless with your Mac

Harman Kardon SoundSticks with woofer.

Haven’t got any Harman Kardon SoundSticks? Have a look at them here. By the way, I got mine quite a lot cheaper. Shop around! Then read on…

So… You’ve excitedly got your gorgeous Harman Kardon SoundSticks Wireless out of the box and admired them lovingly. The instructions are not exactly comprehensive and might leave some people who’ve never had a set of these speakers before scratching their heads as to how to actually set them up. Well, here’s a little help.

Once you’ve plugged the SoundSticks Wireless into the woofer and have connected them to your Mac – by plugging them into the headphone jack – you’re ready to turn them on using the knob on the back of the woofer (which also controls the bass volume/balance with the SoundSticks). A white glow at the back of the woofer signals that the SoundSticks are now discoverable. Yippee! Go into System Preferences on your Mac and select Bluetooth, where they should show up ready for pairing.

Bluetooth preference pane showing SoundSticks Wireless ready for pairing with Mac.

Your SoundSticks Wireless will appear in your Bluetooth preference pane, reading for pairing with your Mac.

Now click ‘Pair’ and they should do exactly that. If they don’t and the button to pair them comes up again (or if nothing happens), quickly turn the SoundSticks off using the aforementioned button on the woofer, then turn them on again and click Pair. That should make them co-opearate. If they still won’t pair, make sure Bluetooth isn’t activated on a nearby iPhone or  iPad (etc.) as this might be confusing your SoundSticks. They can only be paired with one thing at a time.

Harman Kardon SoundSticks Bluetooth emitting a blue glow.

When the SoundSticks Wireless are connected the woofer emits a Bluetooth glow.

You know your SoundSticks are paired and ready for wireless action when the blue light comes on behind the Wi-Fi logo at the front of the woofer, creating a rather nice glow. Now the SoundSticks will appear in your list of Bluetooth devices as ‘Connected’. You only have to pair them once. From now on you can just connect and disconnect them as you wish. They will still be paired and waiting for action if you disconnect them. If you have put a Bluetooth shortcut in your menu bar it’s much easier to control your SoundSticks without having to go into System Preferences each time. You can create one by ticking the ‘Show Bluetooth in menu bar’ box (see the Bluetooth prefs screenshot, above).

Make sure your SoundSticks Wireless are selected as your Mac’s output device, by going to System Preferences and selecting Sound. In the Output tab select the SoundSticks, otherwise you won’t hear anything! I’ve had so many people make this mistake and ring me thinking something is horribly wrong!

Sound Preferences Pane showing Harman Kardon speakers selected as output device.

Make sure your Harman Kardon SoundSticks are selected as your Output device in the Sound preference pane.

On older Macs and pre-Yosemite versions of OS X the SoundSticks might not be specifically named, in which case you should select Headphones. This will still work perfectly since the SoundSticks are connected to the headphone jack.

You’re now ready to play sound through your SoundSticks Wireless! Do remember that there is a volume control on the right speaker. If you have very low sound which you can increase via your keyboard controls you may well have inadvertently turned this down with your thumb whilst you were positioning them.

If you’d like to stream sound from your iPad to your SoundSticks – which is what these SoundSticks Wireless are all about, after all  – you might like to read my post on how to do that, here. It’s great fun and does surprise your friends. 🙂

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